ST. LOUIS – More than 2,300 people have died of COVID-19 in the St. Louis region since the start of the pandemic.
Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said Tuesday COVID hospitalizations are now nearing 1,000 patients (1,057 with suspected patients added) and, if those numbers don’t come down soon, health care professionals won’t be able to keep up with the surge.
“This is no doubt a war,” he said. “We have hospitals without room to take care of patients and hospital workers unsure what to do next.”
During Monday afternoon’s pandemic task force briefing, Garza said we’re about a week away from reaching COVID capacity in hospital rooms and ICUs.
“We will continue to have to make decisions because there is not enough space or staff,” he said.
The task force is represented by the four major health systems in the region – BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health, and St. Luke’s Hospital.
Many of the patients who are discharged from hospitals come back because they don’t fare as well at home, Garza said.
Some of the overall numbers have become “less worse,” according to Garza. The growth rate has slowed and is not climbing as fast.
During the briefing, the task force leader again noted the importance of wearing a mask or face covering to stem the spread of the virus. Garza said the task force examined areas with mask mandates and those that don’t have one in place.
Areas that don’t have mask mandates are average about twice as many cases as those who do, Garza said, adding there was a clear correlation of deaths from counties that don’t have mask mandates and deaths are at a higher level.
The St. Louis region added 410 COVID deaths in November and 117 in just the past week. As of Nov. 30, the region has 142,567 cumulative cases.
To emphasize how quickly the virus can spread and devastate, look across the river Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois.
On November 17, Madison County, reported 189 deaths, trailing its neighbor to the south, St. Clair County, which reported 238 deaths. In the last 12 days, Madison County has closed that gap and now is reporting more deaths (251) than St. Clair County (250).
Additional notes from Monday’s pandemic task force briefing:
- New hospital admissions (data lagged two days) decreased from 116 to 108 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions (data lagged two days) remained the same at 116 today.
- The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations increased – from 897 yesterday to 914 today, a new seven-day moving average record.
- Inpatient confirmed COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 920 yesterday to 961 today, a new hospital admissions record.
- Inpatient suspected COVID positive hospitalizations increased – from 74 yesterday to 96 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients in the ICUs remained the same at 202 today.
- The number of confirmed COVID positive patients on ventilators decreased – from 127 yesterday to 123 today.
- Across the system hospitals, 108 COVID-19 patients were discharged yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of COVID-19 patients discharged to 10,819.
As of Monday, Nov. 30, staffed bed hospital capacity is at 79 percent, an average across our task force hospitals. The ICUs are at 88 percent of their total staffed bed capacity.